The cost of the launch of the new Falcon 9 starts with 62 million dollars, previously used in the first stage, from 50 million.
The single vacuum-optimized Merlin engine on Falcon 9's second stage has a 5 percent thrust increase to 220,000 pounds-force, he said. The rocket lifted off successfully May 11 at 4:14 p.m. EDT, landed its first stage 11 minutes later and positioned Bangladesh's first telecom satellite, Bangabandhu-1, to geostationary transfer orbit just under 34 minutes later.
"This is unquestionably the most innovative pressure vessel developed by humankind", Musk said.
While block numbering would recommend this is the 5th model of the Falcon 9, Musk stated the Block 5 "is perhaps Falcon 9's variation 6" based upon how enhancements have actually been made over time. "In the future, it will seem freakish that we used to crash rockets into the ocean instead of reusing them", Musk added.
The COPVs were implicated in the rocket's pre-launch explosion in September 2016, when a Falcon 9 exploded during preparations for a static fire test, destroying the payload and severely damaging the launch pad. The Falcon 9 formerly utilized aluminum fins for guiding the Falcon 9 first stage back to Earth, however SpaceX altered those on the Block 3 to titanium after the aluminum fins ignited throughout reentry. Some upgrades the Block 5 brings are redesigned landing legs, a tougher octoweb engine layout, and strengthened COPV (helium tanks).
The new fins are "capable of withstanding [temperatures] on the order of 1,000 degrees Celsius, 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, thereabouts", Musk said.
The first-stage heat shield is "also a big improvement", he added. First stages of previous Falcon 9 iterations have flown a maximum of two orbital missions.
But until that milestone is reached, Musk said last Friday SpaceX plans to relaunch the Stage 5 for three or four more times by the end of the year. While the Block 5 features a variable chamber pressure to maintain a constant thrust.
Overall, the experience and expertise that SpaceX has gained in terms of the ability to reuse rockets will help the company get their boosters back off the ground faster and faster as we move forward and there were many upgrades to the Block 5 that will make that a real possibility. "This rocket is really created to be - the intent is to be the most reliable rocket ever built".
Be on the lookout for Falcon 9 "Block 5 " s first launch tomorrow afternoon. The Block 5 is the last major iteration of the rocket, and SpaceX eventually aims to retire the Falcon 9, along with Dragon and the recently debuted Falcon Heavy rocket, in favor of the BFR spaceflight system, which is now in development. The big Falcon rocket will be used for exploring the planet Mars and the goal is to accomplish the successful exploration of Mars by 2022.